Lorenzo Beretta - Abigail Davies



My stomach rolled for what felt like the thousandth time that morning. Outwardly I was calm and collected, but inside I was a complete mess of emotions. I couldn’t pinpoint which one was strongest. Regret? Sadness?

Maybe a mixture of both.

I placed my palm on my stomach to quell my nerves and stared at myself in the mirror. I shouldn’t have agreed to this. I should have changed my mind.

But did I really have a choice?

From the time the first words were uttered, I knew my life had taken a turn—a turn I’d never expected. A turn I never wanted. But I was raised to confront challenges head-on—to never give in. So why did it feel like I was about to give away my entire life? Why did it feel like today would be the last day of the life I’d always dreamed of?

I inhaled a breath and gazed down at my shaking hands while trying to ignore the buzz of women around me. As soon as I’d opened my eyes this morning, everything had been a whirlwind of activity. The time ticked by, bringing me closer and closer to my final destination. It haunted me, promising that nothing would ever be the same again.

My finger smoothed over a bead on my white dress, causing a smirk to pull at my lips. The symbol of this dress was ironic. I wondered if the people around me truly believed I was a virgin? I may have been raised in an Italian family, but that didn’t mean I’d saved myself for marriage.


Holy shit. I was about to get married.

My eyes widened, and the long fake lashes one of the women had applied to me poked me in the eye.

“Fuck,” I murmured. Gasps echoed around me, but I didn’t care. I was doing this for the family.

My family.

His family.

I ground my teeth together and stepped closer to the mirror. My face was made up to within an inch of its life, and I could have sworn I had cracks in my makeup where it was layered on so thick. “No.” I shook my head and sidestepped the woman trying to push a veil into my hair. “No,” I said, louder this time. “Out,” I gasped, feeling the world starting to tilt beneath my feet. “Everybody but Noemi…get out.”

I spun around, waiting for them to exit the room we were holed up in at the back of the church. Apparently, it was tradition in his family, but at this point, I didn’t give a flying fuck.


I held my hand up. “I mean it. Everybody out.”

There was a pause and then, “You heard her.” My big sister stepped closer to me. “Get out.”

It was only seconds until the room was empty, leaving just me and Noemi, and it was in that second, I knew I’d made a mistake. Maybe I could run away and forget all of this ever happened? Maybe I could dye my hair and move to another country? Maybe I could—

No. I couldn’t.

My family would be left behind, and I couldn’t bear to think about what would happen to them if I left him standing at the altar. I was fucked either way.

“I hate my life,” I groaned, turning back to the mirror and pulling off the fake lashes that weighed heavy on my eyes. I finally felt like I could actually open them properly. “I hate this dress. I hate this makeup.” I threw my hands in the air. “I hate it all.”

I knew I was acting like a teenager and not the twenty-year-old woman I was. Twenty. I scoffed. In a matter of hours, I’d be married off and have to live the rest of my life known as his wife. I was getting married to a man I barely knew. Sure, I knew of him, which also meant I knew exactly who and what he was. A dangerous man. A man who got everything he wanted.

Including me.

“I can’t do this,” I whispered.

“Aida.” Noemi rushed forward and planted her hands on my shoulders. She was always the impulsive one of the two of us. I was level-headed and planned things to a T. I even knew what college I’d be attending when I was nine years old. And yet, it had been me thrown into this situation. I didn’t do well with change, and my entire life was about to be turned upside down.

“You can do this.” She bent at her knees, so our eyes were level. “Think about what this will